Plastic Milk Bags and the Abandonment of a Hungarian Wood Pasture



From the middle of the twentieth century, land-use abandonment is one of the most influential factors of the European cultural landscape. Our aim was to discover the history of an abandoned wood pasture in Hungary in Central-Eastern Europe. “Plastic bagged milk” was the turning point. At the end of the 1980s, people began moving to the city from the village of Pusztakovácsi. The wood pasture underwent spontaneous shrub growth and afforestation. Most of the people in the village no longer intended to keep livestock, due to changing opportunities and the lack of communal livestock management.

Author Biographies

Zoltán Tamás Samu, Balaton Museum, Hungary

Tamás Zoltán Samu works at the Balaton Museum (Keszthely, Hungary). He studied archeology, ethnography, and history at the Community College of the Humanities Association of Miskolc and nature conservation management on the Georgikon Campus of Szent István University. Samu worked as a teacher at Primary School of Puszakovácsi. His research focuses on the history and management of wood pastures as well as conservation issues.

Judiit Bódis, Szent István University, Hungary

Judit Bódis is an associate professor at Georgikon Campus (Keszthely, Hungary) of Szent István University. She received her PhD from the University of Pécs and she has a postgraduate degree in nature conservation. Her diploma degree is in agricultural engineering. During her teaching activity she is a lecturer of subjects in botany and nature conservancy. Her research projects include the investigations of biology of endangered species and land-use history as well.

Anna Varga, University of Pécs, Hungary

Anna Varga is a biologist and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of European Ethnology—Cultural Anthropology, University of Pécs in Hungary. In her PhD, she worked on ethnobiology, environmental history, and vegetation science of forest grazing and wood pastures. Varga has been actively involved in forest grazing policy work, which has led to the possibility of grazing legally again. In her current research work, she focuses on the forest and pasture commons and enclosures during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Anna Varga was a Carson Fellow 2019–2020.